I’m old enough to remember when country singer Natalie Maines said, “We’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.” She wasn’t broadcasting a political demand for impeachment or a half-baked conspiracy theory, and it wasn’t delivered to anyone outside of the auditorium — no audiences of millions on AM radio or cable news. Just a few thousand people in a closed setting. But based on the bug-eyed, flag-molesting outrage that followed you’d think she had colluded with bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and the ghost of Khrushchev to shank George W. Bush with a prison shiv. The nation exploded in a collective hissy fit that included a conga-line of scolding conservatives and more than a few witch-hunt style protests in which Dixie Chicks CDs were smashed by heavy machinery or burned, all to the tune of the familiar warning: don’t undermine the commander-in-chief or else.
And that was in March of 2003, years after the 9/11 attacks and long after the high-water mark of unwavering, luxuriant god-worship of George W. Bush.
In the days and months after 9/11, even hinting that Bush had acted poorly in the wake of the attacks or had perhaps not done enough to prevent them (he was warned — a lot) was immediately beaten down as unpatriotic or “with the terrorists.” The sentiment was universal. Democrats and Republicans alike agreed to lay off the president for a while, an attitude that definitely lasted for way too long and enabled a slate of hard-right laws that passed with unanimous bipartisan support — laws that we’re still trying to unravel today. It’s not a stretch to attribute this reaction to both Republican partisanship and jingoism and the strange Democratic psychosis involuntarily forcing them to be easily suckered into coitus with political enemies.
Conversely, none of the same courtesy has been extended to our current president following the Boston Marathon bombing. Not so shocking, considering how it likewise didn’t happen in the aftermath of the Great Recession, or after the killing of Bin Laden, or after the end of the Iraq War. It certainly didn’t happen following each of the various gun massacres — terrorist attacks at gunpoint. And, as we’re all aware, an outright conservative inquest was launched following the consulate attack in Benghazi, in spite of the fact that 11 similar attacks took place during the Bush years with considerably greater body counts.
Suffice to say, if another attack were to occur at or even below the level of September 11, this president would likely be impeached within a week.
Worse, the conspiracy theories first marketed by Alex Jones last week are being mainstreamed throughout the conservative entertainment complex. In the Bush post-9/11 context, imagine not only broad liberal and Democratic attacks against President Bush within a week of the attacks, but also the mainstreaming of the various 9/11 Truther conspiracies.
Both Alex Jones (naturally) and Sean Hannity launched a conspiracy theory by anti-Islam crackpot Steve Emerson involving the Obama administration’s alleged cover-up of the connection between the bombing and Saudi Arabia via the Saudi student who was questioned and released immediately following the marathon bombing.
On Friday, Glenn Beck said America should “demand impeachment” over the Saudi conspiracy theory.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) accused the president of “leading from behind.”
The Tea Party Nation not only suggested that the president was to blame for this attack, but he’s also to blame for the next attack which will happen “sooner than later.”
Fox & Friends co-host and miraculous talking monkey Brian Kilmeade said on his radio show, “So like it or not, this president has left [the Middle East] alone. And guess what happens? Now the IEDs are blowing up in our streets.” Yep, the Boston bombing was the president’s fault. 100 percent. Why? Because of the Middle East, even though the suspects, the Tsarnaevs, are from, you know, Chechnya.
Rush Limbaugh attacked the president’s handling of the bombing by invoking Benghazi, the New Black Panthers (all two of them at that polling place in Philadelphia) and Rev. Wright of all people — all in the context of the Obama government’s refusal to tell the truth.
Former Bush attorney general Michael Mukasey attacked the president for apparently downplaying the motives of the Tsarnaev brothers, “There is also cause for concern in the president’s reluctance, soon after the Boston bombing, even to use the ‘t’ word — terrorism — and in his vague musing on Friday about some unspecified agenda of the perpetrators, when by then there was no mystery: the agenda was jihad.”
I think you get the idea. It’s been just over a week and all of the usual suspects are engaged in nonsense far worse than anything Natalie Maines ever said. In fact, I’m waiting for Dinesh D’Souza to release another movie about how the president’s “anti-colonialism” caused the bombing. Just wait another few days and it’ll be in wide release. Actually, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Republicans elevated the Saudi conspiracy theory into another Benghazi-style coverup plot.
It’s all yet another case study in how the Republicans too often comport themselves in the wake of a disaster — these self-proclaimed “patriots” are merely selective, fair-weather patriots, only willing to lend their unified support when the president is from their own party and prepared to bomb the hell out of brown people somewhere. They will not give an inch on anything. They will contradict themselves, ignore their own records, jump to paranoid conclusions, risk embarrassment and generally do whatever it takes to disrupt and sabotage the Obama presidency. And they’re willing to brazenly and unapologetically exploit these tragedies as a means of doing so.
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